Fruit For All are the proud sponsors of the #CCMLegends Team of the Decade, so we sat down with Nick Hagistefanis one of the three owners, to discuss his Team of the Decade selections and Mariners memories.
CCM: Fruit for all have been a sponsor of the Central Coast Mariners since day one, what are your first memories of the Mariners?
NH: I was actually at Woy Woy Soccer Club at the time and Lawrie McKinna came to our presentation and I met him there. We had a bit of a chat, I told him what we did and he came up with the idea of us supplying the boys with a bit of fruit for training.
That’s where our relationship started and from and from then on we’ve always supplied the boys with their training fruit and veg’.
But my first great memory of the Mariners was that first Pre-Season Cup win we had in the first season, that was pretty special.
CCM: Looking back 10 years on those first conversations with Lawrie, are you surprised at how far the Mariners and the Hyundai A-League has come?
NH: Definitely! In the beginning it was very exiting but it was still up in the air, no one really knew if it would go on. To still be here 10 years later it is brilliant!
I’ve now got two kids who are right into it, and love it and I just hope it keeps going on to generation to generation.
CCM: You’ve selected your Team of the Decade – tell us about the Fruit For All selection process between yourself, Tony & Angelo?
NH: It was tough, the idea of it all was a great talking point, it was good and it got us all excited and there were a few arguments here at work but we sat down and ended up agreeing on nearly 99% on the team. I think one of us is still a little unhappy with the selection but that’s what happens, majority rules when there’s three partners so two got there way and one didn’t.
There are a lot of good players to pick from so it was very difficult but I think we came up with a pretty good one.
CCM: Getting technical now, the 4-2-3-1 formation is what we’ve gone with. What were your thoughts on that?
NH: I agree with it, I like the formation. I think we had most of our success with that formation. With the players that we’ve got and we put in that team I think it was the easiest one.
Before we were told the formation we tossed and turned with a diamond and all the rest of it and I think all of us agreed on the 4-2-3-1 which made our job a little easier.
CCM: Was there one player who you couldn’t leave out of the squad that you chose as your first selection?
NH: There were two of them, which are our two captains, Wilko (Alex Wilkinson) and Hutch (John Hutchinson) who have both led by example. They are the heart and soul of the team; they’ve played hundreds of games for us so they were definitely the first two picked.
CCM: The players consider Fruit For All as a part of the team, what does it mean for you guys to be sponsors of the Central Coast Mariners?
NH: It’s huge, when the concept first came to me I was excited. Since we’ve been there from day one and they are now doing the Team of the Decade it’s something very special and an opportunity that we couldn’t refuse.
We are over the moon about it, it’s a big deal so hopefully we are here next decade.